I like all kinds of books with magic. …and books without magic….but that doesn’t matter with this book. Though especially when it’s magical realism (which does apply to this book) and when it’s being used to fight evil (which doesn’t really apply to this one.)
Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn’t prepared for her brother’s suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna’s brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.
As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year’s Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.
As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?
(I feel I should preface this review with the fact that I just watched seven hours of Doctor Who. Series Five and it is now one in the morning. Almost all caught up. Geronimo!)
First off, the book is told in alternating points of view between the three main characters. I didn’t hate it, the way I generally do with alternating points of view, but I didn’t like that one of the points of view was in a different tense than the other two. I found it jarring.
Early on I got attached to the idea of two characters getting together. I thought they’d be totally cute. It doesn’t happen. And I was so very attached. And while I liked the realistic portrayal of teenage hormones and relationships and such, I enjoy having a romance I can get attached to and route for. But it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book that much, because….
The plot was fantabulous! And had such a great ending, even though I saw a certain thing coming, it was just the way it needed to end. And I loved that the magic was real but not world-altering. And I liked that everyone needed the proper evidence to be convinced that it was really magic, though once they were convinced they kept it in their mind in every situation and weren’t idiots about it. I love when characters aren’t idiots.
My favourite thing was how very much this book took place in New Zealand. In the same way that Melina Marchetta books take place in Australia and deal with Australian problems and don’t try to be a book that could’ve taken place anywhere. The teenagers have the same problems as all teenagers but from a New Zealand point of view. The rivalries and bigotries and culture feel so very real, despite the magic involved in the plot, because of how real everything else is. And how the author doesn’t cut corners or try to make things pretty (except for the scenery…it’s New Zealand) and I really enjoyed that look into a culture that I know almost nothing about. It was entertaining all on it’s own. This gave me an idea of teenagers in New Zealand the same way Looking for Alibrandi gave me an idea about teenagers in Australia.
I also enjoyed that it was so very different from everything else right now. Read it for that alone. It’s not a dystopian or an angel book, or even really a paranormal romance. It just felt like something new. I needed that when I read it.
And now I’m going to go sleep while thinking about what exactly the Silence is and how I dislike River Song…a lot.
Read The Shattering! It’s fantastic!